Sunderland land Chris Coleman as manager as he leaves Wales job

• Coleman set to be confirmed in post over the weekend
• Sunderland are bottom of the ChampionshipChris Coleman has agreed to become the new Sunderland manager. The 47-year-old is expected to be confirmed as Simon Grayson’s successor over the weekend in what will be a major boost for Sunderland and a huge blow for the Football Association of Wales, which had hoped to persuade Coleman to sign a new contract. The FAW held a board meeting on Friday to discuss his position, with both parties previously involved in lengthy talks about extending the deal that expired at the end of this month, but Coleman has decided that the time is right to return to club management and has agreed to take the plunge with Sunderland. Continue reading...

Granit Xhaka: ‘My dad’s first few months in jail were OK, then the beatings started’

Arsenal midfielder on Saturday’s derby clash with Tottenham, why Camden market reminds him of his childhood and why he believes his mental strength comes from his father’s time as a political prisoner in the former YugoslaviaIt is the story that has shaped Granit Xhaka and fuelled the fires that rage inside him. The details are savage, barely comprehensible, and it is a wonder that the Arsenal midfielder can articulate them. Then again, like his father, Ragip – who spent three and a half years as a political prisoner in Yugoslavia – Xhaka is not a man who runs or hides. “As far as I know, his first few months in jail were OK,” Xhaka says. “But then the beatings started.” Continue reading...

Leicester City v Manchester City: match preview

What chance a repeat of last season? Leicester beat Manchester City 4-2 on that occasion, with Jamie Vardy scoring a hat-trick as Pep Guardiola’s side somewhat naively played into the hands of the then Premier League champions. Now City are an entirely different proposition and it is hard to see how anyone can stop a team that is unbeaten in 23 matches and scoring goals at a ridiculous rate. City will, however, have to make do without the suspended key defender Nicolas Otamendi at the King Power Stadium. Stuart James Kick-off Saturday 3pm Continue reading...

Di Maria: United only wanted me to sell shirts

It was exciting times for Manchester United when we signed Angel Di Maria from Real Madrid. Having just been named Man of the Match in the Champions League final a couple of months earlier, we knew we had a real talent on our hands. After a bright start, Di Maria’s form took a turn and Louis van Gaal’s tactics failed to get the best out of him, with the Argentinian played out of position. Di Maria didn’t seem to have much interest in fighting for his place and a burglary on his home only seemed to further switch him off from life in Manchester. However, his translator, Debora Gomes, has claimed Di Maria wanted to leave after starting to believe we had only signed him to sell shirts. This is a strange argument as United don’t get the money from shirt sales. We agree a deal with the manufacturer over Continue reading "Di Maria: United only wanted me to sell shirts"

Ronaldo ‘confident’ of winning Ballon D’Or

< !DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> Paris (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo said on Friday that he was “confident as always” of winning the upcoming Ballon D’Or for best player in the world. Ronaldo is the overwhelming favourite to collect the award on December 7, after a year in which he led Real Madrid to titles in Spain and Europe. “Last season was exceptional. We won the league and the Champions League, where I was again the top scorer,” the Portuguese star told the French sports daily L’Equipe in an interview published on Friday. “If I win the Ballon d’Or, it’s perfect, otherwise I’ll still be the same person.” If Ronaldo wins the award, he will tie Lionel Messi on five victories. The Argentine, who is 30, won the award in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015. Ronaldo, who is 32, won in 2008, 2013, 2014 and last year. After the triumphant end to their last campaign,
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